President Donald Trump has a keen interest in South Africa, says the state department’s Tibor Nagy who is currently on an official visit to the country.
Speaking to Bloomberg, Nagy said that the land debate is being monitored closely and that Sub-Saharan African countries eligible for the African Growth and Opportunity Act have to commit to protecting private property rights.
“As everybody knows, President Trump has asked secretary Pompeo to monitor the situation, to look at it carefully, which is what we are doing because that could be a loaded issue that US investors would take a very close look at, when taking a decision on whether or not to invest in South Africa,” Nagy said.
The US is South Africa’s third-largest trading partner, with two-way trade in 2018 of $13.7 billion, according to Nagy.
Imports from South Africa include everything from precious metals, iron, steel and aluminium, to automobiles, car parts and millions of cartons of citrus and table grapes from the Northern and Western Cape.
During his visit, Nagy also warned that African countries running up debt they won’t be able to pay back, including to China, should not expect to be bailed out by western-sponsored debt relief.
Reuters reports that the continent is facing another potential debt crisis today, with around 40% of low-income countries in the region now in debt distress or at high risk of it, according to an IMF report released a year ago.
“All of these countries are sovereign states, so it’s for them to decide who they want to trade with,” Nagy said. “We feel we have an obligation to point out to them when we believe they are getting into severe economic difficulties.”